LCBO strike: How to still get booze in Ontario during a ‘dry summer’

LCBO workers are on strike for the first time in Ontario’s history, with the union representing those workers declaring a “dry summer has begun.”

Talks between the Crown agency and the Ontario Public Sector Employees Union (OPSEU) broke down, with the sale of pre-mixed drinks at corner and grocery stores a key sticking point between the two sides.

Some 9,000 workers were officially on strike as of 12:01 a.m. Friday.

While LCBO stores are closed across the province, Ontarians aren’t necessarily stuck with a “dry summer.”

There are still ways to get your hands on alcoholic drinks, though options to get spirits are more limited than others:

The Beer Store

Most notably, The Beer Store is unaffected by the LCBO strike.

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Locations throughout the province are operating as usual.

In addition to selling beer, The Beer Store also offers ready-to-drink mixed beverages.

Select grocery stores

Consumers can also still get booze at the up to 450 grocery stores that are currently licenced to sell alcohol.

Those stores are able to sell beer, cider or wine.

To find a grocery store near you that is licenced to sell alcohol, you can visit the provincial government’s website.

Additionally, consumers can go to Wine Rack or The Wine Shop.

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Breweries, cideries, wineries, distilleries

Breweries, cideries, wineries, and distilleries throughout the province remain unaffected by the strike.

They will continue to sell alcohol to customers.

Restaurants and bars

Restaurants and bars will continue to sell alcohol.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, in a bid to help restaurants and bars, the provincial government allowed them to sell alcohol with food takeout or delivery orders — a measure that was ultimately made permanent.

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So, it’s also possible to buy alcohol, including spirits, to take home with you from restaurants and bars, if the business offers it.

Click to play video: 'LCBO strike to begin Friday involving 9,000 workers at Ontario liquor retailer, union says'

LCBO strike to begin Friday involving 9,000 workers at Ontario liquor retailer, union says

Online LCBO orders

The LCBO is still fulfilling online orders through or on its mobile app.

Its website says it is offering free home delivery on all orders with no minimums, though restrictions do apply. When shopping online, in terms of spirits, customers are limited to two units per products. For wine, there is a limit of 12 units per product and for beer, cider and ready-to-drink beverages, there is a limit of 12 units per product.

“Deliver to store, same-day pickup, and on-demand delivery through LCBO are currently unavailable,” the website notes.

“Vintages Shop Online continues to be available; however, delivery of orders to stores will be delayed.”

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Limited LCBO stores — starting July 19

All LCBO stores across Ontario will be closed for at least two weeks — or until a deal is reached.

If a deal is not reached by July 19, 32 stores across the province will open for limited hours on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The LCBO’s website said, “Information on store locations, hours, and the shopping experience will follow.”

LCBO Convenience Outlets

LCBO Convenience Outlets, which are located in communities where there isn’t “reasonable access” to an LCBO store, remain operational.

The LCBO notes that “LCBO Convenience Outlets are not located in urban areas such as Toronto or in communities where a LCBO store or Beer Store is within 5 kilometres.”

Other important notes

The LCBO said it is continuing to receive and fulfill wholesale orders.

Additionally, LCBO specialty services and duty-free are operating.

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Doug Ford announces coolers, 30-pack cases of beer are coming to Ontario grocery, big-box stores

— With files from Isaac Callan

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